We are finally getting some real Pennsylvania winter weather; the high today was around freezing, with a wind chill in the single digits. It snowed all day, but it was flurries and really didn't cover the ground much. I took some photos while doing my Project FeederWatch count.
Here are some photos of the ponds where I've seen ducks; the first one is on the marsh, and the second is at the back property line of neighbor Ed's backyard, where a huge willow tree attracts a lot of birds.
All the ponds on the marsh are frozen; I guess the ducks left sometime yesterday or last night. Where do they go when their home is frozen?
I found a dead black-capped chickadee today, probably a window-strike victim. Why didn't I do something about the windows earlier in the season? I guess I thought that because I'd never noticed any window-strikes, they weren't happening here; I thought my birds were too smart or something. I guess I was just pushing my luck, and this little guy paid for it:
I need to get some screens or something before the spring, I think. I've tried so hard to attract birds to my property; to see one killed because of my negligence was almost too much to bear.
On another sad note, my grubworm feeder is a total bust, I think:
Any suggestions on what I should do? Maybe I should just wait until the spring. How long do little dead dried-up grub worms last?
I got some photographs of a woodpecker--I think this is the downy, but I'm not absolutely sure--from my "observation post" on the three-season porch. At one point, there were two downies (male and female) and a red-belly!
I also got some photos of a beautiful little house finch on the tamarack hanging feeder:
I really like house finches, and they seem to love my feeders. Sometimes I'll see ten females and only one male. What's going on there?
While watching the birds from my little perch, I happened to see a little meadow vole poking his head out of a small hole around the big compost/brush pile. I couldn't believe it! Niki and I are always sending each other pictures of cute animals, and the meadow vole is one of the cutest--to finally see one live was really neat! I went down and took pictures of his little doorway; it's quite neat and well-framed, no?
Can you see that little hole just under that horizontal stick? I wish I'd gotten a picture of the actual vole, but I just wasn't prepared. I was busy counting birds with my binoculars, so I didn't have the camera ready.
I got a lot of birds today, including a house sparrow. I was under the impression that they were all south for the winter; what's he doing here?
I also got out the Condor and d-scoped some photos of birds on the platform feeder, but the photos weren't very good:
Mr. Cardinal was up there with three and four house finches at once a couple of times; all were coexisting quite nicely.
One sparrow (I think) I could not identify had a rufous-striped head like an American tree sparrow, a solid gray breast with no spot, and a small black spot behind his eye--maybe a quarter of an inch behind the eye. I couldn't find any matches in my Stokes guide, so I'll have to check all my other guides. Any guesses? I tried to get a photo but he came and went quickly, leaving me just enough time to note and jot down the above descriptives about him. That black spot behind the eye just didn't match any sparrows in the book, but I know it was there. And there was definitely no spot on his breast. Maybe he's not a sparrow? He sure looked like one, but what kind?
I'll have to check my other books and see what I come up with.